Once Upon a Time: In the Name of the Brother


Welcome back to Once Upon a Time! This week we’re exploring the fairy tale world of…19th century romantic science fiction?

Okay…that’s weird.

I know we’ve been here before, so it shouldn’t be a surprise, but last time we saw “Frankenstein” it was an awkward side note that I did my best to forget. At least then it was part of the fairy tale picture. But now we’re stuck in this world where everything is actually black and white and everyone has a forced english accent….it’s not even interesting enough to be labeled as silly. It’s just an unimaginative way to bring another iconic character in where he clearly doesn’t fit (ahem, Mulan).

But here’s the problem with Frankenstein. Most people don’t actually know the original story. Think Frankenstein and the image that usually comes to mind is a big green dude with bolts in his neck.



That’s not Frankenstein, that’s actually Frankenstein’s monster. Victor Frankenstein is the brooding, emo scientist who just wants to know the secret of life (it’s 42, duh) and thus attempts to create it out of dug-up body parts. Luckily, small annoying child Henry explains this to all the non-lit nerds later in this episode. Props to Storybrook’s educational system, Frakenstein’s a pretty advanced book to be teaching to 10 year olds…

But back to the point. Frankenstein’s monster is an iconic image embedded in our subconscious. But his story really isn’t. So taking the story and putting the “daddy issues” spin on it really doesn’t stimulate the imagination of the audience in any way. It’s just a basic, unoriginal story we’ve seen a million times before, without the presence of a fairy tale nostalgia to make it compelling. Besides that, it didn’t connect too strongly with the present day-Storybrook plotline. Sure there was Whale’s cold feet when it came to the surgery…but it wasn’t enough. It was cool to see Rumplestiltskin in color, though. Red’s a good color on him.



That being said, I enjoyed this episode more than I have any episode since the season two premiere. Yes, the flashbacks of the episode were trite and banal. But they were easily ignored, and the rest of the episode was fairly strong.

First, I loved all the quips. Thanks to Jane Espenson, for making this episode fun amidst it’s more serious situations. I don’t know what you were thinking when you decided to write the line “I ate my boyfriend,” but I commend you for it. I also commend Megan Ory for delivering it completely straight.  It was laugh out loud funny, but at the same time strangely poignant. That’s when this series excels, when it makes the extreme and ridiculous stories of fairy tales a strangely relatable reality.



Second, Cora is becoming far less annoying and more entertaining as a villain. She has honestly surprised me twice with the “I’m a different character” fake-out. Her genuine love for Regina and her apparent previous fling with “Master Rumple” have also served to make her more of a dynamic character. Plus, girl just always looks fabulous. Where do you get your wardrobe, because I want it.

Mostly, it was just an engaging episode. The writing was tight and the plot points were compelling. As long as you ignore the bizarre black and white bits, which is fairly easy to do.

Other Thoughts:

-When Whale disappeared during the surgery, was anyone looking for Jennifer Morrison to put on her Dr. Cameron coat and do it herself?

-Yes, Belle, screaming in horror is how you are supposed to react when you wake up to find Rumplestiltskin, a man who threatens to kill oddly literate children, is kissing you. What was wrong with you before?

Why are all of his couplings so awkward? Every time he kisses someone I wince. Please understand I love Robert Carlyle and all his theatric mastery, but look me in the eye and tell me that kiss with Cora wasn’t hella awkward.

-Belle killed Chip! That’s definitely violating some sort of nostalgia law! Although, gotta say, it was kind of narcissistic of Rumple to assume it was her talisman. It’s probably her favorite book, dumbass. Men. They never listen.

-Hook and Emma’s exchange in the hospital bed was first class writing and acting. They really have an absurd amount of chemistry. I  don’t care how evil he is, that needs to happen.

-Just in case you forgot that Disney now owns Star Wars, Emma’s cell phone ring is a friendly and incredibly subtle reminder.

-When Henry realized that they could have characters from basically any book ever written, did that remind anyone else of J.J. Abrams free “I can write what I want” pass in Stark Trek? (Note, Mr. Abrams is a lovely man and I’ll never say a bad word against him)

-Rumple worries that if anyone finds out about Storybrook that there will be tour busses running up and down main street. Is that the origin story Disneyland?

What did you guys think?